By FARRAH JOHNSON
TWO men who denied operating separate restaurants past 8pm as specified in COVID-19 emergency orders have been granted bail ahead of their trials.
Vernal Major, 43, appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes after he was accused of operating a lounge restaurant and bar on Bay Street around 8.20pm on July 10. He denied the charge and the matter was adjourned to November 5. Major was granted $1,500 bail in the interim.
Kevin Surujlal, a permanent resident from Trinidad, was also accused of violating the emergency order for restaurant and food vendors that same night. The prosecution alleged Shipwreck Restaurant and Bar was still operating around 8.20pm without permission. He also pleaded not guilty and had his case adjourned to November 5. Surujlal was granted $1,500 bail.
Yesterday, a man and woman also appeared before Magistrate Forbes for curfew violations. In the first incident, Jian Dorsett, 39, was charged after officers found him on Marathon Road around 12.30am on July 10. During the hearing, he explained he lived with his grandparents, and his 93-year-old grandfather did not allow him to enter the house that morning. He claimed when he tried to go to his mother’s home, he was stopped by police. Magistrate Forbes said he would enter a not guilty plea for the defendant and adjourned the matter to September 24 for trial. Dorsett was released on $1,000 bail in the interim.
In the second incident, Keia McPhee, 23, was charged after officers found her on Balfour Avenue around 12.50am on July 11. She pleaded guilty and was fined $500 or three months at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services. Prosecutor Lincoln McKenzie said when officers stopped and questioned McPhee on the morning in question, she told them she left her house to drop off a friend.
During the hearing, McPhee also told Magistrate Forbes she did not intend to violate the curfew and claimed she did contact 311 before she left her home. Still, McPhee admitted that while the officials operating the COVID-19 hotline told her to wait, she decided to leave anyway because “the situation got very heated”.